Despite the order to residents to sit-at-home by a separatist group, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), eligible voters in Anambra State yesterday turned out in their numbers to vote candidates of their choice in the presidential and National Assembly elections.
But in some places like Idemili North (Awada), Ogbaru, Ihiala, Anambra East and Ekwusigo local councils, where gunmen usually operate at will and in fact killed some police officers including a Divisional Police Officer (DPO) last week, voting had not commenced as of 2:00pm.
Also the Biomodal Voter Accreditation System (BIVAS) malfunctioned in some places like the popular Unizik Junction Market 1. The capacity of the machine was inadequate for the 1,671 registered voters in the polling unit.
There was, however, no incident of vote buying, voter apathy and violence in the state.
Business activities were halted in the state even as major roads were deserted as eligible voters went to their polling units to vote.
As early as 8:00am, voters had started trooping to their voting centres in the state.
At Polling Unit 019, Ward 2, of the presidential candidate of Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi in Agulu, Anoacha local council, voting started about 8:40am.
The first voter, Pa Peter Anedum, who spoke to journalists shortly after casting his vote, appealed to Nigerians to vote for a president of their choice irrespective of tribe, religion and ethnicity that would change the current socio-economic challenges facing the country.
Obi voted at the unit about 11:57am, alongside his wife, Margret.
He told journalists shortly after voting that only God knows the winner of the 2023 presidential election.
He expressed satisfaction with the process in his community, urging the electorate across the country to emulate his people’s conduct.
Obi, a former governor of the state, also said he observed that it was too early to determine how the exercise would turnout at the end of the day as many Nigerians were still at their polling units to exercise their right.
Anambra Central Senatorial candidate of the Labour Party, Victor Umeh, who voted at his Aguluzuigbo Ward 2 at about 1.05pm, said he was impressed with the turnout of voters.
He commended the people for their resilience and expressed hope that he and Obi would win the election. As of 2.40pm, several people were still voting at St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Umuokpu, in Awka South local council.
At Regal Secondary School, Nri, the senatorial candidate of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for Anambra Central, Uche Ekwunife, also cast her vote and described the process as peaceful.
The senatorial candidate of APGA for Anambra Central, Dozie Nwankwo, also cast his vote and described the process as smooth.
Anambra State Governor, Chukwuma Charles Soludo, who voted at Polling Unit 002, Ofeiyi, Umueze, Isuofia, Aguata local council at exactly 1:55pm, also described the elections in the state as orderly.
Soludo made the assertion while speaking with journalists. He noted that the reports he had indicated that the entire process was peaceful, calling on the residents to shun all manners of violence or electoral malpractice.